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Oltrarno/Palazzo Pitti: Trattoria 4 Leoni

Via de’ Vellutini, 1r , Phone: 055 218562

Reviewed by: GailS from Massachusetts, review #3961

When: 2012

Good food, good service and a nice outdoor eating area on Piazza della Passera.

We had one lunch and one dinner here on our latest trip. We made reservations to ensure we could eat outside. Reservations would also be recommended for dinner as the night we ate dinner the indoor seating was also full. All our food for both meals was quite good and reasonably priced. The pear stuffed pasta with taleggio sauce in particular was extremely good. We will definitely go back on a future visit.

Reviewed by: jan55612 from MN, review #3696

When: 2010

Nice trattoria in a convenient Oltrarno location.

We had two meals at Trattoria 4 Leoni during our four weeks in Florence. The first was fabulous, the second was "pretty good." What set the meals apart was the service. We made reservations for each visit and had dinner in the 8 to 8:30 range each time. On our first visit, we were seated in the main dining room (as you enter). The table was comfortable and the service impeccable.

We ordered antipasti to share, and then bistecca alla Fiorentina to be shared by four, with several contorni, followed by dessert. The steak was heavenly and the patate al forno, spinaci, and verdure grigliate were great side dishes. I can't recall the total for the meal, but I recall thinking that the charge was quite reasonable for the meal we ate. On the second visit, we were seated in a smaller room, our table felt crowded against another, and the service was not as well paced or competent. The food was still good. On both visits the restaurant was very busy. So make reservations!

Reviewed by: Jean from WI, review #3449

When: 2010

Excellent service, very nice trattoria in Oltrano area

Directions: In Piazza della Passera.

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Quattro Leoni. Our waiter was very entertaining and helpful. We shared the asparagus with prosciutto and pecorino and it was amazing! We also shared a wonderful salad. My husband had the veal chop and I had the well-known pear-filled pasta. I loved the pasta, but Greg thought the veal chop was a bit tough. That was our only negative in this meal. With a liter of house wine, bill was 62 euros.

This is a very popular place. I had originally tried to make reservations online. They have that option on their website. However, I never received a confirmation, so I stopped the day before to try to book a time. They were almost full, and we had to eat a little earlier than we wanted to get in.

Reviewed by: Susan in Texas from TX, review #3170

When: 2008

There for two weeks and it was hands down the best meal on our trip (keeping in mind all meals were excellent)

The pasta "Purses" here are a must - it is so good you will never forget it. We returned on our trip for an encore. Charming, welcoming and delicious! Told our friends who came back and said best meal on their trip.

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from CA, review #2536

When: 2007

Not quite mind-blowing or life-altering, but this nice trattoria, located in a quiet Oltrarno intersection, was pretty darn good nonetheless.

It was our last night in Florence and we really wanted that last Florentine meal to be a great one. We'd read gushing reviews of Trattoria 4 Leoni from numerous sources, and seeing Taglierini al Tartufo Nero listed on their menu sealed the deal.

I've heard it's a good idea to book ahead here, but we didn't. We showed up early, around 7:30 on a Monday night, and we were given a table with the caveat that they would need it for a reservation at 9:00. I imagine if you do make reservations, you'll have a much better chance of eating outside on the patio in front. But the back room where were seated had a cozy and comforting ambience.

So, the aforementioned Taglierini al Tartufo Nero was really quite good. It came with a cream sauce that tied everything together, and the razor thin slices of Tartufo Nero were plentiful and fairly potent. I have a disturbing obsession with the rich, earthy flavor of truffles, so I was quite happy with this dish. My girlfriend feasted on a Papardelle with sugo di Cinghiale, which she said was fresh and flavorful.

That excellent round of primi set our expectations high for the secondi. I ordered the Trippa Fiorentina, which was actually kind of boring. I had some tripe from the tripe stand (that one over by Dante's alleged house) which I liked, but 4 Leoni's tripe was just kind of blah. My girlfriend ordered a veal shank which was juicy and well-prepared, but not as good of a cut as it could've been.

The relative mediocrity of these dishes brought our overall enthusiasm for the place down a notch. However, we have found that restaurants in Italy who make stellar pasta but mediocre meat-based secondi are not uncommon, so this wasn't a surprise or anything.

I forgot to make a note of the house red, but I'm sure that like most house reds in Tuscany, it was quite good (and I'd have remembered if it was gut-rot!).

Overall, I would definitely eat here again, and I do recommend it. However, next time I might ask the waiter for his or her advice on the secondi. And this place seems to be incredibly popular, so make a reservation!

Reviewed by: Kenn from CO, review #1768

When: 2005

Excellent food, fun welcoming staff, and nice atmosphere. They welcomed our group of seven, and told us to eat what we wanted and share what we wanted.

Happy diners, photo by Unnamed 4Leoni waiter

7 people in group and average price of about €40 sharing some courses. The restaurant staff was great on explaining menu and suggesting combinations of courses. Encouraged sharing and mixing courses. The pasta with pear and asparagus was wonderful as was the veal. The lemon sorbet was like picking the fruit from the tree. The chocolate torte appeared to be a brownie but was so much more.

The most welcoming place we ate in all of Florence with no rush and locals eating there, too. The waiter, an Albanian, was a great help. I would encourage all to give it a try.

Reviewed by: AlliK from DC, review #1287

When: 2005

Beautiful piazza setting for a very good meal

Two of us ate at an outdoor table here for our first night in Florence in May. We made our reservations online on their website, which offers a 10% discount.

The piazza is a beautiful and relatively quiet setting - perfect for an outdoor meal, though the interior is cozy as well. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. There was a fairly significant number of tourists there, but it did not detract from the meal (there were also locals).

We split bruschetta con pomodoro (the best tomatoes of the trip) and an insalata mista to start. For primi we had pennete al sugo toscano (a hearty and delicious meat sauce) and fiochetti alle pere (pear stuffed pasta with a taleggio cheese and asparagus sauce), both of which were fabulous and filling. As a secondo, we split the tagliata di pollo (grilled, garlic/herby boneless chicken thighs with excellent flavor) and fagioli (white this time). This all was plenty, if not too much food. We also enjoyed a half-liter of house red wine - certainly drinkable. The total cost was 55 euros.

I had eaten here several times while a student in Florence in 2001, and it was as good as my memory recalled. Unfortunately this time we didn't save room for a panna cotta, which I remember being tasty.

Reviewed by: Alexandra from FL, review #916

When: 2004

Very good local trattoria.

I was introduced to this trattoria by my Italian business partner last year and now return often when in Florence.

The fritto misto is very good and my favorite dish there is trippa; a local delicacy my father used to cook for me. Yumm! Lunch/dinner for two (multiple courses) with wine runs under 100 euros; less with the "local" discount.

Reviewed by: Robert Rainey from CA, review #864

When: 2004

A favorite with locals as well as the tourists that find this busy restaurant.

Directions: Piazza della Passera

Great selection of antipasti: bruschetta, crostini (10 different antipasti selections), uovo sodo e acciughine was another choice as well as prosciutto e melone.

Several fish selections (which I didn't have as my second) but the fish looked great on my neighbor's plate - and he said it was good. I had taglierini with fresh funghi (excellent) and a salad, as well as my antipasto of bruschetta pomodoro. I would have liked to have had room for more but I ate a large lunch. On my list of places to go again!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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